Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lock and Load, Boys, There's Wounded Amongst Us

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
My spirit is hot and sweaty, and my muscles ache from effort. I am always a child in search of my good God. We are wrestling again, he and I. Not that the match is ever really over even tho' there are times when my heart is more at peace than others.

I have been the good girl, the head Heavenly cheerleader-in-waiting. And yet, there seems no end in sight as my battle wages on. Despite, or maybe because of, my willingness to admit spiritual frailty, this week has been a busy one. Other fraidy cats lifted Sunday-go-to-meeting masks, revealed hidden pain, and said, “I wrestle too. Can you help me?”

How is it, I wonder, that I can feel this undone only to have others share personal pain and heartache. Why is it I ask myself, that despite my own long battle, I never stop pointing others to the good God with whom I always wrestle? Is that faith? Is that stubborn determination? It it pride, or is it only folly? In the end, will it really matter?

Courtesy and in Loving Memory of Christina Jones Hooker
I do not wear pain as a badge on my sleeve. I'm pretty sure this statement is true. My friends often say they check my Facebook status first every day. They stop for a visit hoping to start the day off with a laugh. If I accomplish that goal, I am a happy, happy girl. I laugh so that you will like me. I laugh to hide my pain.

Oh, there are times when my fingers twitch above the keyboard begging me to let the unvarnished truth rip. I suppose there is still too much genteel Southern belle left in me to succumb to that temptation. Instead, I practice the art of witty repartee – or at least what I hope suffices for it in the eyes of my friends.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I fought a solitary battle this week. The kind that cried out to be heard and validated. I did what I have done so often in my life. I made an unpopular decision. In another place and time, I would have put on my Sunday-go-to-meeting mask. For the sake of appearances, I would have carried on as if life was good and all was well. What no one else knew would not embarrass or isolate me, right? I could pull it off if only I would. Surely I could do so one more time. That's what head cheerleaders do, right? 
In this late round of my wrestling match, I have no stomach for that pretense. So, I made the choice to absent myself from a special event. I knew I would be conspicuous by my absence. It was a lonely, hard decision that left me feeling vulnerable and exposed.

As if on cue, a voice boomed over the phone so that, even without the speaker phone engaged, one could hear the caller's agitated excitement. In fact, his demeanor led one to wonder what kind and how much of a 'refreshing beverage' he had just enjoyed.

I felt the room grow smaller as I wrestled again with the decision I had made. I was not to get by unscathed. Unaware of my proximity, the caller had no reason to mince words. I heard the biting sarcasm. It was tinged with an impatient desire for me to get with 'the program', I think. My already bruised and battered spirited wilted even more.

Lock and Load, Boys
I winced and wondered why we Christians cannot help ourselves. In those moments when compassion is required, we lock and load and shoot our own wounded. I think masks come in handy for occasions such as those. If you have denied your own pain and ignored your own fraidy cat, it is so much easier to fire upon the hurting among us. In fact, it's a downright antiseptic experience, or we would not excel in marksmanship the way we do.

Later, when the new and oozing wound had crusted over, I began to work my way through emails awaiting my attention. The words reached up off the page and grasped at me. Another fraidy cat had come in from the cold. I had a choice. I decided to lock and load. I opened my online Bible and began to copy and paste scripture links that might soothe and quiet her anxious soul.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I have looked in the mirror and seen a fraidy cat staring back. My pain resonates with hers. She has trusted me enough to lift her mask and allow me to enter into battle with her. Who am I that she would turn to me?

I am the fraidy cat on the wrestling mat of life who is looking for my good God. When I lock and load, I hope you walk away feeling stronger, less alone, and more determined to continue your journey with me. Love you long and strong. All fraidy cats are welcome here. You know that by now, right? See you soon? 

Courtesy B. Creasy

Psalm 34: 15. (King James) The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

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